May.24, 2013

Ian McHale, a student in Steinert High School in New Jersey has developed a design for a finger splint that can be produced on a 3D printer for less than 2 cents.

There is no world shortage of splints, but McHale hopes the 3D printable splint can be used in clinics, remote hospitals as well as field first aid posts. "This is an affordable solution," he said. "If somebody donates a $1,200 printer, you can continue to use recycled plastic to make these splints or any other medical devices."

McHale got an assignment from his Biology teacher that's to develop a device that could help people for less than $10. So when he was attending a Mini Medical School program taught by pathologist Dr. Richard Siderits at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, an idea struck him. Dr. Siderits has configured a complete desktop rapid prototyping laboratory in his office, including 3D modeling software, 3D scanner and 3D printer. The entire system fits on his desktop, costs less than $8K and creates accurate solid models and part molds from start to finish usually in less than an hour. For McHale, this is a great chance to demonstrate the practicality and feasibility of "3D printed medical devices" with cutting-edge technology and Siderits's mentorship.

McHale designed a finger splint using a CAD program and the 3D files can be printed out on any desktop 3D printer. Each splint takes only about 10 minutes to create using recycled plastic. "With a 3D printer, splints can be created on an individual basis and modified to fit various finger sizes", Siderits said. This design can be used in health care in developing countries, and "it could save lives", said Siderits to

McHale explains, "Finger splints can come in many shapes and sizes. A finger splint immobilizes a finger or joint after an injury. Countries with restricted economies and open boarders may use this type of "Field Splint" as a convenient and inexpensive temporary stabilization device. This file describes a "Field Splint" that can be scaled on any axis and printed using ABS Plastic. Depending on the platform up to 30-40 splints can be printed in one "Run". Each of these can be scaled independently. "

Below is a video of the design process.

McHale's design won first prize in his division at the Mercer Science and Engineering Fair. And McHale posted the 3D files on Thingiverse, where other visitors to the site could download his design.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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eric wrote at 5/25/2013 3:24:33 PM:

hello, please what is this CAD sofware (in the video)?

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